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Symptoms

Possible symptoms of pregnancy are listed below. You will probably not experience all the symptoms on this list:
  • Missed menstrual period
  • Nausea
  • Appetite change
  • Breast enlargement
  • Breast tenderness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination
  • Weight gain
  • Food cravings
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Fetal Development

1st Trimester

Day 1

Sperm joins with ovum (egg) to form one cell -- smaller than a grain of salt. The new life has inherited 23 chromosomes from each parent, 46 in all. This one cell contains the complex genetic blueprint for every detail of human development -- the child's sex, hair and eye color, height, skin tone.

Days 3-4

The fertilized egg travels down the fallopian tube into the uterus, where the lining has been prepared for implantation.

Days 5-9

During this time, the fertilized egg implants itself in the rich lining of the uterus and begins to draw nourishment.

Days 10-14

The developing embryo signals its presence through placental chemicals and hormones, preventing the mother from menstruating.

Day 20

Foundations of the brain, spinal cord and nervous system are already established.

Day 21

The heart begins to beat.

Day 28

The backbone and muscles are forming. Arms, legs, eyes and ears have begun to show.

Day 30

At one month old, the embryo is 10,000 times larger than the original fertilized egg -- and developing rapidly. The heart is pumping increasing quantities of blood through the circulatory system. The placenta forms a unique barrier that keeps the mother's blood separate while allowing food and oxygen to pass through to the embryo.

Day 35

Five fingers can be discerned in the hand. The eyes darken as pigment is produced.

Day 40

Brain waves can be detected and recorded.

Week 6

The liver is now taking over the production of blood cells, and the brain begins to control movement of muscles and organs. The mother is about to miss her second period and has probably confirmed that she is pregnant.

Week 7

The embryo begins to move spontaneously. The jaw forms, including teeth buds in the gums. Soon the eyelids will seal to protect the embryo's developing light-sensitive eyes, and will reopen at about the seventh month.

Week 8

At a little more than an inch long, the developing life is now called a fetus -- Latin for "young one" or "offspring". Everything is now present that will be found in a fully developed adult. The heart has been beating for more than a month, the stomach produces digestive juices and the kidneys have begun to function. Forty muscle sets begin to operate in conjunction with the nervous system. The fetus' body responds to touch, although the mother will not be able to feel movement until the fourth or fifth month.

Week 9

Fingerprints are already evident in the skin. The fetus will curve its fingers around an object placed in the palm of its hand.

Week 10

The uterus has now doubled in size. The fetus can squint, swallow and wrinkle its forehead.

Week 11

At this time, the fetus is about two inches long. Urination occurs. The face has assumed a baby's profile, and muscle movements are becoming more coordinated.

Week 12

The fetus now sleeps, awakens, and exercises its muscles energetically -- turning its head, curling its toes, and opening and closing its mouth. The palm, when stroked, will make a tight fist. The fetus breathes amniotic fluid to help develop its respiratory system.

Week 13

Fine hair has begun to grow on the head, and sexual differentiation has become apparent.

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2nd Trimester

Month 4

By the end of this month, the fetus is eight to ten inches in length and weighs a half pound or more. The mother will probably start to "show" now. The ears are functioning, and there is evidence that the fetus hears quite a bit: the mother's voice and heartbeat as well as external noises. The umbilical cord has become an engineering marvel, transporting 300 quarts of fluid per day and completing a round trip of fluids every 30 seconds.

Month 5

Half the pregnancy has now passed, and the fetus is about 12 inches long. The mother has definitely begun to feel movement by now. If a sound is especially loud or startling, the fetus may jump in reaction to it.

Month 6

Oil and sweat glands are functioning. The delicate skin of the growing baby is protected from the fetal waters by a special ointment called "vernix". If the baby were born in this month and given the proper care, he would survive.

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3rd Trimester

Month 7

The baby now uses the four senses of vision, hearing, taste and touch. He can recognize his mother's voice.

Month 8

The skins begins to thicken, with a layer of fat stored underneath for insulation and nourishment. Antibodies increasingly build up. The baby absorbs a gallon of amniotic fluid per day; the fluid is completely replaced every three hours.

Month 9

Toward the end of this month, the baby is ready for birth. The average duration of pregnancy is 280 days from the first day of the mother's last menstrual period, but this varies. Most babies (85 percent to 95 percent) are born somewhere between 266 and 294 days. By this time the infant normally weighs six to nine pounds, and his heart is pumping 300 gallons of blood per day. He is fully capable of life outside the womb.

The growth pattern described above is recognized medical information, documented by scientific research. Slight variations in developmental days may exist from individual to individual.

The First Nine Months. Copyright (c) 1989, 1994, 1995, by Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

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Staying healthy during pregnancy

Nutrition

One of the most important things you can do for yourself and your baby is to make sure you eat well while you are pregnant. The USDA's food guide pyramid is a great place to start. In general, if you are a teenager or active woman you should try for 9 servings from the bread group, 4 servings from the vegetable group, 3 from the fruit group, 3 from the milk group, and 2 from the meat group per day. If you are a less active woman, try for 6 servings of bread, 3 of vegetables, 2 of fruits, 3 of milk, and 2 of meat. Your doctor may have more specific recommendations for your individual needs.

Many doctors recommend prenatal vitamins to help ensure that you and your baby get all the necessary nutrients. Contact us for a supply of vitamins to get started.

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Prenatal care

It is also extremely important to see a doctor regularly while you are pregnant. If you are having trouble finding a doctor in your area or need help paying for a first doctor's visit, contact us. If you need transportation or babysitting help for prenatal visits, the Pregnancy Friendship Program may be helpful for you.

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Childbirth classes

Childbirth classes are a great way to prepare yourself for the coming of your baby. Not only do they help with labor and delivery, they typically cover caring for the newborn and breastfeeding. For specific information about childbirth classes offered by your hospital, contact the Obstetrics (OB) department:

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Smoking

If you smoke, the best thing you can do for yourself and your baby is try to quit. The good news is that there is no clear evidence that any smoking done before you were pregnant will harm a developing baby. But there is a lot of evidence to show that smoking while you are pregnant, especially after the fourth month, is dangerous. Some of the possible problems are:

After the baby is born, he or she is more likely to suffer from apnea (breathing lapses) and is twice as likely to die from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Exposure to tobacco smoke can also cause children to develop asthma and increase the frequency of attacks for children who already have asthma. If you cannot quit, these are some ways you can still protect your child: If you would like to quit but need some extra help, try Nicotine Anonymous.

Adapted from "What To Expect When You're Expecting", Eisenberg, Murkoff, and Hathaway, Workman Publishing, NY, 1991.

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Alcohol

Because a woman usually doesn't know she is pregnant until the second month, it is not uncommon to have done things she wouldn't have done if she had known. Fortunately there is no evidence that having a few drinks a couple of times early in pregnancy will harm a developing baby. Continuing to drink heavily during the rest of the pregnancy, though, can cause a wide variety of problems in the baby. No one knows for certain how much, if any, alcohol is safe during pregnancy. So while you shouldn't worry about any drinking you did before you knew you were pregnant, the safest advice is to stop drinking for the remainder of the pregnancy. If you need some help to stop drinking, contact Alcoholics Anonymous.

Adapted from "What To Expect When You're Expecting", Eisenberg, Murkoff, and Hathaway, Workman Publishing, NY, 1991.

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Drug use

If you have used marijuana, cocaine, or other illegal drugs during your pregnancy, be sure to tell your doctor. The more he or she knows about your medical history, the better care he or she can give you. There is no point in worrying about drug use before you knew you were pregnant - just make sure you stop once you do know. Every known illegal drug can cause serious harm to a developing baby with continued use. If would like to quit but need help, contact the National Institute on Drug Abuse at 800-662-HELP.

Adapted from "What To Expect When You're Expecting", Eisenberg, Murkoff, and Hathaway, Workman Publishing, NY, 1991.

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